After three consecutive negative trading sessions, Nigerian equities broke through the bears’ cordon on Wednesday with a marginal gain of N5 billion.
The breather was largely driven by gains recorded by some highly capitalised stocks as underlying sentiments remained weak.
The All Share Index (ASI), the common index that tracks prices at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), recorded a modest day-on-day gain of 0.05 per cent to close at 25,460.45 points as against its opening index of 25,446.66 points. Aggregate market value of all quoted equities at the NSE also improved marginally by N5 billion from N8.770 trillion to close at N8.775 trillion. The average year-to-date return now stands at -5.27 per cent.
With 13 losers to 11 gainers, the overall market situation was driven largely by gains recorded by some highly capitalised stocks. The Banking Index appreciated by 0.7 per cent. The NSE Insurance Index rose by 0.2 per cent while the NSE Oil & Gas Index inched up by 0.04 per cent. However, the NSE Industrial Goods Index declined by 2.28 per cent while the NSE Consumer Goods Index slipped by 0.3 per cent.
Dangote Cement, Nigeria’s most capitalised stock, drove the recovery with a gain of N1.11 to close at N167.11. Guaranty Trust Bank, the most capitalised banking stock, followed with a gain of 32 kobo to close at N23.82. Airlines Services and Logistics rose by 11 kobo to close at N2.50. Vitafoam Nigeria added 10 kobo to close at N2.31 while Access Bank rallied 5.0 kobo to close at N6.65 per share.
Total turnover stood at 347.82 million shares valued at N1.41 billion in 2,934 deals. Low-priced stocks, otherwise known as penny stocks, were the most active stocks. AIICO Insurance was the most active with 143.41 million shares. Diamond Bank followed with 37.48 million shares while Staco Insurance placed third with 30million shares.
On the negative side, Lafarge Africa was led the losers with a loss of N2.62 to close at N41.78. Nigerian Breweries followed with a loss of 90 kobo to close at N130. Presco declined by 30 kobo to close at N46. Stanbic IBTC Holdings depreciated by 19 kobo to close at N17.81 while Forte Oil dropped by 12 kobo to close at N56.70 per share.
Analysts remained cautious on the outlook for the stock market. Analysts at SCM Capital said the market appeared to only witness a momentary spur from bargain-hunting as there was no underlying strength to drive sustained price appreciation.
Analysts at Afrinvest Securities however said the depreciation in the previous trading sessions appeared strong enough to drive a sustained recovery in the next trading session.
Analysts across the divides agreed that the release of impressive corporate earnings can provide a stimulus for a strong market rally.
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